Zephyr Teachout, Howard Dean and Christopher Lydon

Today on the train I listened to the Lydon interview with Zephyr Teachout. I have to say of all of these I’ve listened to – must be over two dozen so far – this was the hardest to listen to. I had to resist the urge to just skip over it. I found her speech patterns and her basic personality so fingernail-on-blackboard grating that I found it hard to focus on what she was saying. She had that same thing I observe in many geeks and science fiction fans, that obnoxious preciousness of speaking as if everything is an in-joke. At the same time, listening to her talk about the Dean campaign in Iowa full of her pep and enthusiasm had a different feel knowing how it turned out, knowing that the “internet story” was soon going to be replaced with an “inside the beltway” story had a cringeworthy quality. It’s like rereading the fall 1999 press releases of internet startups, knowing that they’ll have pissed away the VC money within a year.

Doc Searls collects links to some of the big blogs talking about Dean. I’ll have to say I really don’t understand why people feel so betrayed by Dean replacing Joe Trippi. They seem to feel this is an abandonment of the internet campaign that had them all so geekily enthused. Is it so hard to believe that one set of tactics that works great a year out from the election may not be optimal in the heat of the primary? I don’t think altering the strategy after Iowa invalidates the previous year+ of campaigning. I think it was just wishful thinking and naivete that led a lot of nerds to think that email and blogs could translate into primary wins. Here’s my analogy: the fact that a rocket has a second stage booster does not invalidate the first stage booster nor the third stage. They have different requirements, different needs and they perform differently. The fact that the pre-primary campaign has a different strategy than a primary campaign has a different strategy than a nominee campaign should surprise no one.

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